Single women in South Africa reaching out

I’ve been hearing more lately from women (and men) who don’t have the easier community acceptance that many of us have grown accustomed to in North America. Several of them are single women in South Africa, looking for community as they contemplate or take the Choice Mom path. Here is one:

“I am a single woman from South Africa. I have always wanted children, but I assumed that I have to wait for the perfect guy. Your website wasn’t the only reason I started thinking of having children on my own, but your website did make me realize that I wasn’t the only single woman that wants children.

The idea of adopting a child was something I wanted to do since forever. The idea of filling my home and heart with a child just feels natural. Do you get e-mails from South Africa? Do you know South Africans that have gone through a Choice Mom decision? Do you know the procedures for South African adoption, local or international?

A couple of years ago I contacted an orphanage in my area. I am not sure I was ready for the commitment, at the time. But I wanted to know what to do; how to prepare; who to go see. Like most of the Choice Moms I’ve read about, I like planning ahead. Although they never said that I would not be able to adopt, they did scare me that my chances of adopting a child wouldn’t be that easy. Being single.

Not only is the waiting list long scaring me — it could take 10 years, if I am lucky. The process, uncertainty and the manner in which everything was told didn’t feel comfortable.

The idea of having a child that was all mine, and couldn’t be taken away, was appealing to me. I started thinking of having a child with donor sperm. This is something that is now on my mind, all the time. But I am afraid. Not of being a mother, because I believe I will be great. Not at being on my own, because I know I can do this. Not at being a working mother, because although I love my job, my job is not my life and I have family in town that supports my decision.

But I am afraid of my community. I will be the first to have a child (by donor sperm) in my town. How do I tell my story? How do I not care what they are saying? Why are my needs so important? And since my parents and brothers live in the same town, they will live through the questions as well. They will not be able to distance themselves from my decision, and disapproving people surely have plenty to say.

I know this must sound petty. But I am afraid for all, and I don’t know if this is a fear I can handle putting everyone I love through.

I am making contact not because I believe you have the answers. I guess I needed somebody to listen. And if you can give some insight to my fears, that’s okay.”

Mikki’s note: I’ve written back to this woman, and put her in touch with several other women in South Africa who have contacted me recently. But I know it would help for you to comment to her in the reply area below.


  6 comments for “Single women in South Africa reaching out

  1. Aletta
    October 21, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Dear Choice Mom,
    I am very glad to hear that there is more SOuth AFrican women wanting to go the single route… I am doing it myself, if all goes well I should be pregnant by March 2012. I would love to make contact with you and start a support group for us here, in SOuth Africa. When I tell people about my plans they look horrified, and honestly, if I did not have my famlily’s support I would probably still have been in the thinking phase!
    Since this letter have been posted quite a while back, I hope you have found the support you needed and the courage to go through with your plans!
    Best of luck.

    • Letitia
      March 15, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Dear, Aletta, Mikki and Choice Moms,
      I know this letter and this reply has been posted many years ago, and I hope my reply finds you all well.
      I live in South Africa and I’m in the thinking and planning stage, and with all my research, this letter came up through one of my many google searches.
      Are there any updates on whether a support group has been started in SA?
      Have any posts been previously submitted of any good fertility clinics?
      I am considering using Vitalab, and already chose a few possible options for donor sperm, with one that’s standing out. I’m also already on excellent vitamins that fertility clinics recommend, as I am 36 years old. Any advise would be highly appreciated.
      Looking forward to a reply.
      Thank you
      Kind regards, Letitia

      • Aletta
        August 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        HI Letitia,
        again a while have gone by since your last post, and I do hope this reaches you.
        My Plans have born fruit and I have a 5 year old.

        I have to admit that it would have been easier if I had friends in a similar position than me, but its not the end of the world and I would not change anything!

        hope this finds you well.

        take care of yourself.

      • Claire
        March 29, 2018 at 1:46 pm

        I have just started the researching part of my planning a baby with donor sperm… I am also in SA, would love any advice on the research and where to start…


  2. Jolie
    September 13, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I totally understand your concerns regarding your community. However on the plus side, it sounds like you already have support from your family which, if this is the case, is fantastic. I think it is very important to have ‘a’ support network which, for some Moms is their family, for others its their friends, or for the very fortunate, both :-). If I had only 1 piece of ‘advice’ to suggest, it would be to not let anyone else dictate your life-choices and decisions. I did for way too long (without even realising it!) as I was trying to keep everyone happy, not offend anyone’s religious/cultural sensibilities while trying to fulfill my life’s dreams(the latter at the time being my least important priority!). It literally took several sessions with a therapist for me to see a way forward and then be able to move forward with my plans to have my child. In my case, the ‘disapproving community’ was my immediate family. My father has militant Catholic beliefs, also I was raised to believe that it was my ‘duty’ to never do anything which I knew would offend or upset my parents, even if that meant giving up my own life dreams & ambitions. I literally felt I was between a rock and a hard place and was utterly paralysed with fear. My parents live in a small town in Ireland and are the pillars of their community. I realised one of their biggest concerns would be the HUGE shame my pregnancy would bring on them if it ever ‘got out’. Luckily I live in a city a few hours away and, when my pregnancy started to ‘show’, I never visited them; which was easy as they had already freaked out at my news and I had to shut them out of my life for a few months.
    When my baby was only a few weeks old and the plan was for us to visit my parents in their town, my dad stood in my house looking at my baby and said "God, how on earth am I going to explain this to Mrs R…" (Mrs R being their town’s queen gossip!!). Frankly, by that point, (thanks to my earlier therapy sessions) I could not have cared any less what Mrs Raffery, or indeed anyone else, thought about pretty much anything I did!! 🙂 The other point to mention though is that I had already decided that I would not be broadcasting my baby’s conception details to the general public. The way I looked at it was that a baby’s conception details are a private matter and are on a ‘need-to-know’ basis (with the majority of the world not needing to know). However that was just my preference and i know others have no issue announcing it to everyone they meet. The only thing I did say was how lucky I was to have my baby and that the pregnancy was very much planned (therefore, saying a lot but confirming nothing).
    I think it is good to know that others in South Africa have pursued this option therefore, if you are thinking of telling everyone re conception details, you might be surprised by other peoples’ lack of surprise/shock ! When I started looking into this option 6 years ago, I knew of 1 woman in Ireland who had done this. Now I am in contact with 9 or 10 women who have made this choice!

    Very best wishes to you (let me know if you ever want to chat further)

  3. Emily
    September 12, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Dear would be choice mum from SA,
    Welcome to the life of mothering, not just as a single woman choosing to break the mould! I do believe that parenting is one of the most onerous tasks anyone can take on in this day & age, when we have so many more choices and fewer resources than there used to be! Try not to let the worries paralyse you, I’m sure there will be a way to achieve your dreams without causing harm to anyone, least of all to your child or children!
    I dont actualy know anyone who has done DI as a single woman in SA, but I do know women in the UK who have gone to SA for treatment, so I know there are clinics that have treated single women there… and I also know South Africans living in the UK who have donor conceived children, so they have family & friends back home who are already familiar with the idea… So you may be pleasantly surprised that people are not as shocked as you expect, and may even be pleased & impressed by your decision! One thing for sure, once you’ve got a baby to introduce to them, most people’s hearts melt and the mode of conception becomes trivial. Even in orthodox religious communities, women have found acceptance and support, so be assured, you may have to shift your networks a bit to find it, but you will find a community that will be happy to welcome you and your baby. I think the essential element is to present yourself with pride and delight, not doubt or apology… save those for those who are most firmly behind you, so they can help you keep them in their place.
    As far as adoption goes, I know that here, the first response to enquiries about adoption tends to be to raise the difficulties: adoption is a very serious enterprise and they want to weed out anyone who might give up quickly, to save time and disappointment… I dont know how difficult the process is in SA compared to here: in the UK it is long, intense and intrusive, because there should not be any going back. I know this sounds obvious, but as a social worker, I have seen far too many failed adoptions… so if this is what you want to do, dont let them put you off: you need to show them you are strong and clear headed and can take on a challenge!
    I hope this helps, many many others have walked in your shoes before and found love and admiration and support – we have to learn to put aside those who cant come round, the real world is changing around them whether they like it or not…
    Good luck with the choices ahead of you,

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